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.There was a czehar player, two players of the kalika, four flutistsand a pair of kaska drummers.The meal was served by slave girls in white tunics, each wearing awhite-enameled collar.These would be girls in training, some of them perhapsWhite Silk Girls, being accustomed to the routines and techniques of servingat table.One of them carried a large pitcher of the diluted Ka-la-na wine and steppedbehind us, climbing the two steps to the broad wooden dais on which our tablesPage 49 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlwere set.She bent over my left shoulder woodenly, her body stiff."Wine,Master?" she asked."She-sleen," hissed Ho-Tu."How is it that you first serve wine to a strangeman at the table of your master?""Forgive Lana," said she, tears springing to her eyes."You belong in the iron pens," said Ho-Tu."He frightens me," she wept."He is of the black caste.""Serve him wine," said he, "or you will be stripped and thrown into a pen ofmale slaves."The girl turned and withdrew, then approached again, climbing the stairs,delicately, as though timidly, head down.Then she leaned forward, bending herknees slightly, her body graceful, and spoke, her voice a whisper in my ear,an invitation, "Wine, Master?" as though offering not wine, but herself.In alarge house, with various slave girls, it is thought only an act of courtesyon the part of a host to permit a guest the use of one of the girls for theevening.Each of the girls considered eligible for this service, at one time or anotherduring the evening, will approach the guest and offer him wine.His choice isindicated by the one from whom he accepts wine.I looked at the girl.Her eyes met mine, softly.Her lips were slightlyparted."Wine, Master?" she asked."Yes," I said, "I will have wine."She poured the diluted wine into my cup, bowed her head and with a shy smile,backed gracefully down the stairs behind me, then turned and hurried away."Of course," said Ho-Tu, "you may not have her tonight, for she is WhiteSilk.""I understand," I said.The Musicians had now begun to play.I have always enjoyed the melodies ofGor, though they tend on the whole to a certain wild, barbaric quality.Elizabeth, Iknew, would have enjoyed them as well.I smiled to myself.Poor Elizabeth, Ithought.She would be hungry tonight and in the morning would have to go tothe feed troughs in the quarters of the female staff slaves, probably forwater and a porridge of grain and vegetables.When I had left the compartment,Ho-Tu preceding me down the hall, I had turned and blown her a kiss.She hadbeen quite angry, kneeling there bound hand and foot, fastened to the slavering bychain and collar, while I trotted off to have dinner with the master of thehouse.She would probably be quite difficult to get on with in the morning,which time it would be, I supposed, before I would return to the compartment.It is not pleasant to be bound all night.Indeed, such is a common and severepunishment for female slaves on Gor.It is less common to bind a girl duringthe day because then there is much work to be done.I resolved that most of myproblems in this matter might be solved if I simply refused to releaseElizabeth until she had given her word, which she takes quite seriously, to beat least civil.But Elizabeth, rightly or wrongly, was banished from my mind at the momentbecause I heard, from a side door, the rustle of slave bells, and was pleasedto note that seven girls hurried in, using the short, running steps of theslave girl, arms to the side, palms out, head to the left, eyes averted, andknelt between the tables, before the men, head down in the position ofPleasureSlaves."Capture of Home Stone," announced Cernus, moving his First Tarnsman toUbara'sBuilder One, where Caprus had, at that point in the game, been attempting toprotect his Home Stone.The Home Stone, incidentally, is not officially aPage 50 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlpiece of the game, as it cannot capture, though it can move one square at atime;further, it might be of interest to note that it is not on the board at thebeginning of play, but must be placed on the board on or before the seventhmove, which placement counts as one move.Cernus arose and stretched, leaving Caprus to gather up the pieces."Let paga and Ka-la-na be served" said Cernus, to a cheer, and turned and leftthe table, disappearing through a side door, the same through which theshackled slave had been led [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]